New standards are reviewed and released regularly by the British Standards Institute and its working groups. Kathryn Lewis outlines the most recent of these relevant to fire safety.
CHANGES TO BS 5588 PART 5 A new version of BS 5588 Part 5 was published in November 2004. This standard now encompasses the requirements for access and facilities for fire-fi ghting as well as the requirements for fire-fighting shafts.
The new inclusions comprise recommendations for water supplies, fire-control centres, drawings for the Fire Service, vehicular access and lift requirements.
Some of the changes to the standard affect architectural requirements:
? There is no requirement to ventilate an internal fi re-fighting stair at each level. The stair can be ventilated at the head only.
? Secondary supplies to a residential building may be via a separate feed from the same external substation.
? The reduction in ventilation size from the stair is compensated by an increase in size of the lobby vent (when a smoke shaft is used). This is now 3m 2;
previously it was approximately 1.5m 2. This is now the same size as required under the BRE method (BRE Report 79204); however, the standard requires supply air at the base of the shaft, whereas the BRE smoke shaft may be closed at the base.
? If the lobby has an external face, the ventilation to the lobby may be a 1m 2 window at each level.
? Dry risers are required in all stairs within buildings more than 11m in height.
PROPOSED CHANGES TO BS 9999 The BS 9999 series is intended to provide design tools and information for the fire engineer when designing fi re-engineered solutions in new buildings.
The previous draft was circulated in 2000.
The latest draft was open to private circulation and comment and the standard is due to be published later this year.
The BS 9999 series is seen as a replacement to the BS 5588 series and will be provided in four parts:
? Fire safety management.
? Provisions for means of escape.
? Structural fire protection.
? Access and facilities for the Fire Service.
CHANGES TO APPROVED DOCUMENT B Approved Document B is currently being modified by the ODPM. The previous amendments to the document were in 2002, when European standards were incorporated in the document.
Early in 2004, the ODPM began a fundamental review of the fire-safety aspects of the Building Regulations and supporting Approved Document B.
This review is considering fire safety in all types of buildings, including residential premises, schools and warehouses, and will draw on the findings of recent research and experience. As part of the broad review, the ODPM will target the provision of fire-safety measures in those new and altered premises where people are considered to be most vulnerable. The ODPM hopes to be in a position to consult shortly.
PUBLICATION OF A RESIDENTIAL SPRINKLER STANDARD:
BS 9251:2005 The draft document for residential sprinklers, DD 251 (with supporting information from DD 252), was issued for comment in 2000. In January 2005, a new British Standard was finally released.
The document is similar to the draft in terms of the general content, but contains more information regarding the water supplies to the site. The major differences in requirements between a residential sprinkler system and a general sprinkler system include the coverage of each sprinkler head, the water supplies, the maintenance regime and the materials used for the sprinkler system.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE THEY?
The new residential sprinkler standard may offer increased opportunities for residential building design, while the revised fire-fi ghting standard BS 5588 Part 5 is already being used to great effect.
The Approved Document and BS 9999 series for fi re-engineering design are guides only - compliance is not required. However, they are very useful when considering alternative design solutions and provide sound background information to the fire-safety requirements for a building.
Hoare Lea Fire Engineering will be happy to advise on any queries relating to the standards or other solutions required.